Top 5 Job Interview Deal Breakers

Deal breaker

Job interview coming up? Here's what 400 creative executives said not to do.

You've spent hours researching your dream employer, and crafting a clear and concise resume and compelling cover letter. A few weeks after submitting them, you find out your hard work paid off: You get called in for an interview. Before the big day, you role-play how you'll respond to common interview questions and invest in a stylish tablet case so you can display your portfolio in style. During the meeting, you answer every query without skipping a beat; you even manage to update your friends with a quick tweet from your phone.

A few days later, you learn you didn't get the job. Unfortunate? Yes. Unusual? Research says no. Nearly eight in 10 (77 percent) advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said it's likely they'd remove a candidate from consideration if he or she checked or answered the phone during an interview.

Here's a look at some other job interview deal breakers, according to the poll:

Deal break infographic

Don't Let This Happen to You

If you're fortunate to be called into a job interview, don't ruin your chances of landing the gig by making a mistake that's easily avoidable. "Hiring managers typically assume candidates are putting their best foot forward during job interviews, so any sign of unprofessional or unproductive behavior makes a big impact, no matter how qualified the person may be for the position," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. "Job seekers should do everything they can to tip the scales in their favor, including paying attention to the smallest details."

The Creative Group offers tips to avoid the top five missteps that can ruin a job interview:

  1. Pulling out your phone. Before entering the building, make sure your smartphone is turned off and put away. While you may be tempted to surf the Web or check social media while waiting in the lobby, it's better to sit patiently and peruse company literature that's available. When the interview begins, give the person you're meeting with your undivided attention.
  2. Being tardy. Showing up even a few minutes late could signal to the hiring manager that you have little regard for his or her schedule; worse, it could cause you to miss the meeting altogether. Plan for any traffic and arrive about 10 minutes early for your job interview – this also will give you time to calm any jitters. If you think you will be late, call ahead and explain the reason for the delay.
  3. Arriving empty-handed. Don't assume hiring managers will have all of your application materials with them. Print extra copies of your resume and bring a laptop or tablet with your online portfolio saved to the desktop so you can easily present it without an Internet connection.
  4. Dressing too casually. Even if the company you're meeting with is laid-back, it's usually not a good idea to wear flip-flops and board shorts, unless you're interviewing with a surf board company. Do some research to find out the company's dress code and choose an outfit that's slightly more formal.
  5. Complaining about a past job. Badmouthing former employers, colleagues or clients may lead hiring managers to question your professionalism and attitude. Although it's OK – and often necessary – to discuss work-related challenges, show tact during these conversations. The ability to describe difficult situations diplomatically can turn the tables in your favor.

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